T notes: Pollack worried about replacement bus service
Moment of silence for bus driver who died Saturday
WITH JUST MONTHS REMAINING before the T starts shutting down sections of the subway system to allow accelerated repair work, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said she is concerned that replacement bus service will not be up to snuff.
At a meeting of the Fiscal and Management Control Board, Pollack asked Deputy General Manager Jeff Gonneville where the T stood on a long-talked-about proposal to set up a team to focus exclusively on bus diversions when sections of the subway system are shut down for construction work.
Without a dedicated team focused on replacement bus service, Pollack said, she is worried that the service may not measure up and that existing employees will be pulled away from the Better Bus Project, an effort to improve bus service overall.
The T announced last week an accelerated repair program that calls for the shutdown of the C and E branches of the Green Line for a month at a time and the shutdown of a major section of the Blue Line every weekend from April through October.
Gonneville said there is no team set up to focus exclusively on the bus diversions.
“It is under our service planning team. It’s the same group that’s handling a lot of the Better Bus stuff, the Better Bus project, and the redesign proposal,” he said. “They’re a very saturated group so bandwidth is actually a valid concern.”
Bus driver mourned at MBTA meeting
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak asked state transportation officials for a moment of silence on Monday to honor bus operator Sanyi Harris of Brockton, who died Saturday at the Quincy Center Station.
Harris, who started work at the T in 2011, appears to have been run over by her own bus, although few details have been released pending the outcome of an investigation by Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey.
In a joint statement, Poftak and Jim Evers, the president of the Carmen’s Union, said “bus operators perform a difficult job and are crucial to the delivery of the MBTA’s core services.
Sanyi’s death is an immense tragedy and her family, friends, and colleagues are owed a thorough investigation into the circumstances to determine the cause of this accident, as well as any potential risks that could have been contributing factors.”
It’s been six months since the Baker administration released a report on congestion in Massachusetts and what to do about it, and state officials say they are now mobilizing to address the problem.
Jenny Zeng, the deputy chief of staff to Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, said she is helping to coordinate the efforts of a congestion steering committee, bringing together officials from a number of transportation agencies to coordinate efforts to speed up traffic and reduce bottlenecks.Among the initial areas of focus are park and ride services for commuters and launching a pilot project to explore whether buses operating on the shoulder of I-93 north of Boston could reduce congestion. Zeng said a study is also underway of managed lanes, a proposal put forward by the Baker administration to charge drivers to use a special lane on congested highways. The theory behind managed lanes is that those who want to move quicker on highways will pay for the privilege and those that migrate to the tolled lanes will help reduce congestion in the other lanes on the highway.
Zeng said the study will explore the legality and the value of converting existing high-occupancy-vehicles lanes into managed lanes, to build new managed lanes, or to convert existing lanes into managed lanes.